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Collections - MF 026 Islands and Bridges: Communities of Memory in Old Town, Maine/ French Island Collection

MF 026 Islands and Bridges: Communities of Memory in Old Town, Maine/ French Island Collection

Number of accessions: 31
Dates when interviews were conducted: 1992-1993
Time period covered: 1880-1990
Principal interviewers: Adeline (Connie) St. Louis, Yvonne Ouellette, and Betty Maderos, Amy Bouchard Morin, James J. Bishop, Alan Comeau, Carol Nichols, Albert Michaud, Barbara Ouellette
Finding aides: Abstracts and transcripts
Access restrictions: None
Description: A 1992 community based oral history project co-sponsored by the Maine Folklife Center and the Franco-American Center at the University of Maine generated a series of 35 interviews focusing on the culture and history of the French Canadian immigrant community located on French Island, Old Town, Maine. The project also resulted in a book of photographs, interview excerpts, and articles, Nos Histoires de I’lle: History and memories of French Island, Old Town, Maine (1999); www.old-town.lib.me.us/nos.

 
2431 Rosalie “Rose” Bosse Flanagan and Flora Bosse, interviewed by Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, Yvonne Ouellette, and Betty Maderos, November 22, 1993, Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. The two sisters talk about growing up on French Island in Old Town; family history; emigration from Canada; neighbors; swimming; ball games; food shopping on the Island; ice and milk delivery; parents’ work; Great Depression; changes on the Island; vegetable gardens; keeping pigs and chickens; Christmas celebrations; French food; St. Joseph School; speaking French at home and school; buying and making clothes; funeral customs and wakes; bootlegging and homebrew; tobacco use; present-day use of French, and extent to which their children’s generation speak French. Restriction expired January 1, 2000. Text: 34 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1481.

2759 Benoit Bouchard, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, May 24, 1993, at his home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Bouchard talks about family history; emigration from Canada to Old Town; businesses on French Island and work opportunities off the Island; his father’s ice cream parlor and confectionery store; Fourth of July celebrations; baseball and other games; growing up with, and recovering from polio paralysis; speaking French at home and English at school; houses on the Island; cutting and storing ice; electricity on the Island; work and recreation on the Penobscot River. Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1482.

2760 Benoit Bouchard, interviewed by James J. Bishop and Amy Bouchard Morin, August 19, 1993, at his home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Bouchard discusses the use of French on French Island, 1914-1920; starting school and learning to speak English; music; operation that allowed him to walk; WWII ration stamps; interior layout of the school; having to speak English in school; effect of language barrier on educational opportunities; Helen Hunt school; playing violin in a traveling orchestra, at dances in the area; introduction of radio to the area in 1920s; Old Town High School and Machias Normal School; prejudice against Catholics; St. Joseph’s church; teaching at Herbert Gray school in Old Town; flu epidemic of 1918; changes on the Island after World War Two. Text: 29 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1483 – C 1484.

2761 Benoit Bouchard, Bernard “Bing” Bouchard, Albert “Bert” Morin, Walter Nadeau, and Beatrice Morin, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, February 18, 1994, at Albert and Amy Morin’s home in Old Town, Maine, for the “Islands and Bridges” project. The group reminisces about life on French Island: family relationships; where specific families lived; stores; carpenter work; Great Depression; prices; homebrew, bootlegging, and Prohibition; nicknames; music and dances; cutting and storing ice from the river; coal and grain from the railroad; cellar flooding; property ownership and land use on the island; drainage and sewers; food packaging, barrels and boxes of pickles, crackers, molasses, etc.; buying gasoline; driving in the 1920s; stretching candy; smoking; buying houses in the 1940s and 1950s; fishing; delivering mail; nosy neighbors; funerals; helpful neighbors; college students. Text: 45 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1485 – C 1486.

2762 John Bouchard and Benoit Bouchard, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, October 19, 1993, at Benoit’s home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. The Bouchard brothers talk about French Island: neighbors; businesses; school on the Island and teacher’s names; interior layout of the school; school yard games; recipe for homemade lemon, onion, and honey cough medicine; family relationships and mother’s death; watching fights between Orono and French Island young men; boxing; children’s work and play; relationships with neighbors; John’s brush with tuberculosis; time at Maine Maritime Academy and joining the Coast Guard. Text: 28 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1487 – C 1488.

2763 Norman Brilliant, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, August 25, 1993, at his home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Also present, Benoit Bouchard. 18 page transcript. Brilliant discusses life on French Island; father’s work; neighbors; businesses; swimming in the Penobscot River; St. Joseph’s school and coming home for lunch; food; Christmas; children’s and adult’s entertainment; Fourth of July; Helen Hunt school; English and French at home and school; WWII in the Pacific; outhouses; weddings on Mondays; funerals; LaBree’s bakery. Text: 18 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1489.

2764 Lucienne Cloutier, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, August 2, 1993, in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Cloutier talks about living on French Island; neighbors; animals; stores; meeting her husband and moving onto French Island; emigration from Canada to the Lewiston mills, then to a farm in Old Town; Great Depression; names; Pea Cove school; woolen mill in Old Town; children’s entertainment; peddlers; holidays; traditional foods; boxing and baseball games; changes on the Island. Text: 12 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1490 / CD 0981 55 minutes.

2765 Eva Collins, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, November 22, 1993, in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Collins discusses moving to French Island after her marriage; LaBree’s bakery; other stores and businesses; speaking French; neighbors; adult’s and children’s entertainment; holidays; blood sausages (boudin); boxing; Great Depression; Prohibition and homebrew; changes on the Island. Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1491.

2766 Patrick Crowley, interviewed by Alan Comeau, September 21 and October 20, 1993, at the Shuffle Inn in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Crowley talks about life on French Island; family reunions and genealogy; businesses on the Island; St. Joseph’s school; crossing the ice; swimming and the booms on the Penobscot river; changes in winter weather; children’s work and recreation; neighborhood relationships; getting married; Christmas; mother’s divorce; feelings about his religion; working at the University; Saturday baths; Father John’s tonic; lighting a candle to pray; bars on French Island. Text: 28 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1492 – C 1493.

2767 Yvonne Shorette Currier, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, November 22, 1993, at her home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Currier, born on French Island in 1908, discusses St. Joseph’s school and the Island school; friends and family; children’s games; French at home and English at school; parent’s work; traditional foods; Silver Slipper dance hall; changes on the Island; Christmas; family names of French Islanders; movie theaters; peddlers, including the ice man; nicknames; homebrew and bootlegging. Text: 25 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1494.

2768 Albert Michaud, Walter Simon, Rand Trembly, and Ernest Dubay, interviewed by James Bishop, February 25, 1994, in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. The group talks about their experiences and memories of growing up on French Island: sports and games, especially softball, boxing (the fights); scrounging donuts under the Milford bridge; swimming in the Penobscot River; conflict between St. Joseph’s school children and the Island school children and between Islanders and Old Town; religious curriculum at St. Joseph’s school; basketball; nicknames; Helen Hunt Junior High; newspapers; stores and taverns on the Island; work & factory jobs; food in the Great Depression; funerals, floods, and neighborliness; holidays, esp. Fourth of July and Mardi Gras; milk delivery; getting a driver’s license; speaking French. Recording: C 1495 – C 1496.

2769 Clayton Landry, interviewed by Albert Michaud, October 6, 1993, at his home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Landry discusses moving to French Island; boxing matches; neighbors; the Shuffle Inn; grocery stores; cutting ice from the Penobscot River; entertainment and children’s games; changing French names to English; St. Joseph’s school; children’s economic activities; community garbage disposal; pulpwood river drives; heating (or not) with wood stoves; holidays; Catholic Order of Foresters; Ku Klux Klan; and his service in WWII. Text: 20 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1497.

2770 Patrick (Leo) Lagasse, interviewed by Carol Nichols, June 4 or 6, 1993, at his home in Westbrook, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Lagasse talks about his memories of French Island in Old Town; nicknames; French and the French Island school; factory and mill work; Great Depression; dairy farming and milk as part of the daily diet; cutting ice from the Penobscot River; lumberyard on Hildreth Street; polio; Benoit Bouchard and Herbert Gray School; children’s and adult’s entertainment; grocery stores; Great Depression and WPA work; Old Town airport; Monday wash day; boxing matches; plumbing and the first bathtub on French Island; automobiles; Prohibition, homebrew, and bootleggers; shining shoes at the University of Maine; and WWII. Text: 15 pp. partial transcript. Recording: C 1498 – C 1499.

2771 Albert Michaud and Rita England Michaud, interviewed by Carol Nichols, July 27, 1993, at their home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. The Michauds discuss early memories of French Island; children’s entertainment and games; why French Island was once called Skin Island; city dump; Shuffle Inn; softball; boxers; schools; meals; gardens; Mardi Gras and Lent; community and neighboring; Great Depression; 1936 flood; bootlegging; hunting, raising, selling, and eating rabbits and deer; and stores on the Island. Text: 18 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1500.

2772 Albert Morin and Bernice Morin, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, August 27, 1993, at their home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Also present, Benoit Bouchard. The Morins talk about family history; parent’s immigration from Canada to French Island; schools; neighbors; children’s entertainment; holidays; work, at lumber mill, and factories; Great Depression and WPA work; funerals and weddings; boxing and softball; LaBree’s bakery and other French Island businesses; WWII; automobiles and roads; women’s textile crafts; arrival of electricity; prices; clothing; peddlers; and the 1918 flu epidemic. Text: 23 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1501.

2773 Rachel Hortense Morin, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, July 29, 1993, in Orono, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Also present, Benoit Bouchard. R. Morin reminisces about living on French Island in Old Town: family history; neighbors; games and entertainment; businesses; nicknames; meals; Christmas; family relationships and economic activities; learning English in school; St. Joseph’s School and the nuns; and nuns and priests from French Island. Interviewee frequently lapses into French. Text: 21 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1502 partially in French.

2774 Bella Nadeau, interviewed by Carol Nichols, 1993, at her home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Nadeau talks about growing up on French Island in Old Town, including: movie theaters and music; St. Joseph’s school; sawmill; stores and restaurants; LaBree’s bakery; playmates and children’s games; night school for adults; dangers of trains; delivering milk to the neighborhood; mourning customs; saw mills and woolen mill; wash day; and plumbing. Text: 16 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1503.

2775 Gloria Thornton and Doris Nadeau, interviewed by Albert Michaud, November 1993, at the Thornton’s home in Milford, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project.The two sisters reminisce with their younger brother, Albert Michaud, about growing up on French Island in Old Town: schools; swimming and boating on the Penobscot river; bathing suits; Fourth of July; river drives of logs and pulpwood; New Year’s celebration; businesses on the Island; Prohibition and bootlegging; nicknames; prejudice against the French; ice skating and sledding; Lent and saying the rosary; sewing circles; taking in boarders; neighborhood relationships; changing French names to English; and the Shuffle Inn. Text: 18 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1504.

2776 Walter Nadeau, interviewed by Genie Wollstadt, December 9, 1993, at his home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Nadeau talks about growing up on French Island in Old Town; parent’s work; schools; children’s games; father’s grocery store; community telephone; transportation and transition to automobiles; businesses on the Island; 1934 flood; neighbors; funerals and weddings; medicine and doctors; sewing circles; 4th of July; employment opportunities in the Old Town area; and the Great Depression. Text: 21 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1505.

2777 Meledore Ouellette, interviewed by Barbara Ouellette, 1994, at her home on French Island in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Ouellette discusses her memories of French Island. Topics include: the locations of houses and businesses; LaBree’s bakery; stores on the Island; funerals; neighborhood relationships; keeping animals for food; jobs; food; boxing; Shuffle Inn; baseball games; and swimming. Text: 10 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1506.

2778 Melvina Paradis, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin, June 11, 1993, at her home on French Island in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Also present, Benoit Bouchard and Velma Paradis. M. Paradis discusses her experiences on French Island; family history; her parent’s work; schools on the Island and off; World War One; getting teeth pulled before dentists; cooking, growing, and preserving food; sewing circle; Catholic churches in town; arrival of electricity and running water; neighborhood relationships; and weddings. Text: 11 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1507.

2779 Cecile Pietrowski, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, August 14, 1993, in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Pietrowski talks about her experiences living on French Island in Old Town: short cuts; building patterns; bootlegging and home brew; Great Depression and food; women’s baseball; boxing; nicknames; children’s entertainment; holidays and traditional food; changes on the Island; women working outside the home; Shuffle Inn; why it was once called Skin Island; LaBree’s bakery; churches and schools; father’s work as a policeman. Text: 16 pp. partial transcript. Recording: C 1508.

2780 Joseph C. “Spike” Richard, interviewed by Amy Bouchard Morin and Benoit Morin, July 29, 1994, at his home in Bradley, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Richard talks about growing up on French Island in Old Town; and his involvement in the boxing matches held on the Island. Other topics include: schools; family relationships; his time in the CCC; children’s entertainment; parent’s work; traditional food; electricity; homebrew; and WWII, with the National Guard in Florida and New Zealand. Text: 19 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1509 – C 1510.

2781 Rebecca St. Louis Paul, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, June, 1993, about French Island, Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Paul discusses schools; children’s entertainment; neighborhood relationships; holidays, including Lent, Halloween, Christmas; camping; food traditions; stores; and changes on the Island. Text: 12 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1511.

2782 Estelle Voter and Henrietta Taylor, interviewed by Albert Michaud, December 3, 1993, in Eddington, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. The two sisters discuss life on French Island in Old Town, Maine: family relationships and history; children’s entertainment; childbirth; schools; 1936 flood; funerals and mourning customs; holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Mardi Gras, dating customs; Skin Island; woolen mill; boxing; and blood stoppers. Text: 16 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1512.

2783 Betty Thibodeau Medieros, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, November 17, 1993, at her home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Medieros reminisces about growing up on French Island: neighborhood relationships; family history; holidays; children’s entertainment; nicknames; Shuffle Inn and stores on the Island; religious observances; Christmas; traditional foods; mother’s work for wages; downtown Old Town; end of World War Two; and changes on the Island. Text: 17 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1513.

2784 Marion Guay and Gloria Thornton, interviewed by Albert Michaud, May 12, 1994, at Guay’s home in Old Town, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Guay and Thornton talk about French Island; schools; children’s work; neighborhood and family relationships; women’s work for wages; Great Depression; and blood stoppers. Text: 13 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1514.

2785 Bernice Morin, Betty Labretton, Flora Bosse, and Pauline Baillargeon, interviewed by Carol Nichols and Adeline “Connie” St. Louis, March 2, 1994, in Old Town, Maine, for the “Islands and Bridges” project. Also present, Albert Morin. The group of women discuss life on French Island; traditional foods; Great Depression; nicknames; stores; movie theaters; schools; baseball; boxing; childbirth; Christmas; neighborhood relationships; children’s and adult’s entertainment; and changing French names to English. Text: 38 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1515 – C 1516.

2786 Letter from Christina Bouchard Duplissa to her cousin Amy Bouchard Morin, December 15, 1994. This letter contains reminiscences about Duplissa’s early years on French Island in Old Town, Maine, between 1939 and 1950. She recalls children’s games and other entertainment; and neighborhood relationships. Text: letter.

2787 Combination of excerpts from several letters written by Van Geroux to Leona Taylor (March 12, 1991), and Lelia Richards (several during 1994-1995). In these excerpts, Geroux reminisces about life on French Island in Old Town, Maine: the Shuffle Inn; baseball; children’s entertainment; boxing; grocery stores; French Island characters; an extensive list of nicknames; taverns, barbershops, lumber yard, and railroad; street cleaners; movie theaters; priests; horses; feeding and butchering pigs; skiing; pickling and canning food; and beanhole beans.

2788 Eugene Beaulieu, interviewed by Albert Michaud, November 16, 1994, at his home in Milford, Maine. For the “Islands and Bridges” project. Beaulieu remembers growing up on French Island in Old Town, including family history; schools; neighborhood relationships; softball; speaking French; children’s entertainment; parent’s work; changing French names to English; and placement of houses on French Island. Text: 15 pp. transcript. Recording: C 1521.


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